I’m very happy to see there has been motion on the transgender/gender issues of PantheaCon. PantheaCon has announced a new policy. I find this a big step forward. And I had been puzzled since last year about the legal aspects of the situation which so many people in the pagan communities seemed to blow off. Here’s the beginning of the statement:
PantheaCon will adhere to state and federal laws which require age limitations and non-discrimination on the basis of age, race, national origin or gender. We also affirm the importance of safe space and will continue to schedule presentations that limit attendance to specific groups of individuals. All workshops or rituals that say “Women Only” or “Men Only” will be open to all who self-identify as such.
The entire statement can be found at:
I’d also like to recommend the book put out by Circle of Cerridwen Press: Gender and Transgender In Modern Paganism, the catalyst of which was the discriminatory event put on in 2011 by the Amazon Tribe of CAYA Coven (who have recently taken a step forward on the issue themselves). Especially interesting is “Who Is Lilith’s Tribe” by Anya Kless (of the Fruit of Pain blog), which deals with the nature of the goddess who was the center of ritual of the excluding rite in question. The ironies behind this are especially bitter considering that Lilith is a deity that in one of her main forms is transgendered or gender variant. Kless writes, “In a Babylonian image believed to be of Lilith, She holds a combined ring and rod in Her hands, suggesting hermaphroditic genitalia. The Zohar, the foundational text of Kabbalah, describes the hermaphroditic birth of Lilith and her partner/brother Samael…” She makes the excellent observation regarding our deities that “We need to resist the urge to put a velvet rope around the face we choose to honor, as well as the urge to become that deity’s bouncer or political advisor.” T. Thorn Coyle has a moving and personal essay, “Snapshots: Musings on Polarity and Flow”. Another strong piece and unique perspective is offered by Raven Kaldera in “The Third Voice”. “The Goddess and Transphobia” by Amethyst Moonwater is a moving piece from a local transwoman activist (who works with the city of Oakland and Alameda county among other entities) that asks hard questions. Some essays seem less relevant to the issue at hand like the one by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, or the rather odd point of view taken by OBOD Druid Michael Gorman that seems to posit the problem being one originating in ancient Rome—I guess since Diana is a Roman deity. Now I certainly would align with the Gauls and the Druids against the imperialism, conquest and genocidal slaughters perpetrated by the expanding Roman Republic and Empire, but he has a fantasy idea of Celtic cultures of the time (egalitarian in Iron Age Europe—oh, right). Philip Tanner has a piece on “God As Multi-Gender Deity” which is a genuinely interesting take on the gender of the Abrahamic deity but at first struck me as odd in a pagan anthology, but it’s also a ceremonial magic anthology. Thers are worthwhile looks at polarity and duality in pieces by Helix and Jacobo Polanshek and a passionate manifesto “Awakening The Transsexual Gods” by Foxfetch. And yes, there is a painful essay by Ruth Barrett, A Dianic who repeats the tiresome and transphobic views of Z Budapest, including that toxic chestnut of transwomen are really men coming in to steal women’s culture The editors really do present a full spectrum of views on the matters. I highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in these issues. It could’ve done with some more proofreading but is a great contribution edited by Sarah Thompson, Gina Pond, Philip Tanner, Calyxa Omphalos, and Jacobo Polanshek and can be ordered at http://cerridwen.st4r.org/ either as a reasonably priced book or as a free e-book. The mark of a fine anthology is leaving the reader wanting to read more writings by some of the contributors and I know I will be seeking out books by some of the writers here named.